Informal workforce

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Demographic changes will result in more older people requiring care. The informal workforce, who provide a significant amount of unpaid care, may not be able to meet the demand – leaving a significant 'care gap'.

Informal care is unpaid care provided by family members to elderly or disabled relatives.

Recent estimates indicate that in 2011 there were 5.3 million carers in England (10 per cent higher than in 2001) (1).

The majority of these people provide care for 10 hours or less a week, with 1.9 million providing intense informal care for more than 20 hours per week. Carers UK estimate that by 2037, the number of carers across the UK needed could rise by 40 per cent (2.6 million people) taking the total number of people providing informal care to 9 million (1).

The numbers of disabled older people receiving informal care are also projected to increase by 60 per cent over the next 20 years, from 1.9 million in 2010 to 3 million in 2030 (2).

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  1. Carers UK (2012). Policy Briefing. Facts about carers
  2. Wittenberg R, Hu B, Hancock R, Morciano M, Comas-Herrera A, Malley J, King D (2011). Report. Projections of Demand for and Costs of Social Care for Older People in England, 2010 to 2030, under Current and Alternative Funding Systems Personal Social Services Research Unit